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Posts posted by cookman

  1. I just wanted to report on another recipe in Zoe's book, the one for Chocolate Bread. I mixed up a batch of it 4 days ago, baked the first loaf off after 24 hours in the fridge, and the other loaf today. The only change I made was to add one cup of dried sour cherries to the ingredients. The bread is great! It reminds me of the similar bread I used to buy from Zingermann's when I lived in Ann Arbor, a bread that now cost $12/loaf!

    Unfortunately, I couldn't wait to try it, so I forgot to take a picture to post. The first bread was excellent, but the loaf made after 4 days in the fridge was even better, with a more complex, slightly tangy taste. My suggestions for the bread are: 1) don't cut up the chocolate chunks too small, as it's even better when you get a good-sized piece of chocolate with a bite of the bread; and 2) if you are going to add dried sour cherries, use 2 cups for the whole recipe.

    Zoe, I've got a question for you about the cherry addition. I'm guessing they suck up some of the liquid from the recipe, thereby reduce the overall hydration. I was thinking I should probably add more water to the dough at the beginning. Any idea how much extra?

  2. Here's what King Arthur has to say on the topic:

    The benefits of steam occur only during the first third or so of the baking cycle. If the baker neglects to inject steam at the time of bread loading, hecannot compensate by steaming the oven several minutes later. In order to ensure that the crust remains thin and crisp, it is important to finish the bake in a dry oven. For this reason, the oven should be vented or the doors notched partially open for the last portion of the bake.

  3. Sorry for the extremely long delay! But here is a great recipe....

    27 oz - Almond Paste

    20 oz - Sugar

    20 oz - Butter


    25 oz - Eggs


    9 oz - All Purpose Flour

    1)Start with the Almond Paste...Cream that in a mixing machine(you can soften it by adding just a small quantity of the eggs if necessary).

    2)Cream the sugar into the almond paste and then cream the butter into that mixture.

    3)Add eggs in 1-2 at a time as to not get lumps...wait till it incorporates and then add more.

    4)Mix in the flour until everything is incorporated and then you can bake.

    Bake at 400 Degreees F on a flat sheet pan. You can then cut the different petit four pieces from that sheet layer.



    What size pan is this for? Half sheet?

  4. I thought I read somewhere that cocoa butter had an "indefinite" shelf life if stored properly. Recently, however, I was adding some cocoa butter to some chocolate I was tempering and the cocoa butter seemed to have a slightly "off" smell to me. Anyone know how long cocoa butter will keep?

  5. Has anyone tried Ann's unusual technique for making puff pastry? In it, she describes a technique in which the butter is first cut into slices, then made into 4 discrete sheets which are then layered into the dough during the first set of turns. I've never seen anyone do it this way (seems unnecessarily complicated), but I'm intrigued and plan on trying it this weekend. I'll report back with my results. Anyone else tried her technique?

  6. ^I've also had acrylic frames made for my ganaches, caramels, pate de fruit, etc..  just calculated a recipe to fit exactly inside (flush with top).  works well and you don't have to worry about separate pieces slipping and sliding.  pour your product in and let it set up.  unmold and you have the perfect shape to cut and finish.

    Alanamoana, are your frames cut from a solid piece of acrylic, or made from 4 pieces glued together at the corners?

  7. In this link, there is a story on the NPR website of a family's recipe for egg nog. The recipe begins with beating together 6 whole eggs, 1/2 cup bourbon, 1/3 cup rum, and 1/2 cup sugar. The resulting mixture is then stored in a cool place (not the refrigerator), for one month. At that time it is mixed with sweetened whipped cream, before serving. Supposedly, the aging mellows the alcohol flavor and allows new flavors to develop.

    The idea that this could be drinkable intrigued me, so I whipped up a batch, expecting to give it a month to age. After one day, I've got to say that whatever has precipitated on the bottom of the jar is a little scary looking. We'll see....

    So my question is: Has anyone else tried this, and lived to talk about it?!

  8. They are quite versatile and can be used for more than just dehydrating foods.  I have used them for proofing dough, particularly shaped loaves and rolls. 

    andiesenji, I'm intrigued by your alternative use of a food dehydrator for proofing dough. Don't you have a problem with the moving air drying out the surface of whatever you are proofing in there, thereby inhibiting its rise?

  9. Is it possible to make a good cheesecake out of yogurt "cheese"? The consistency of the "cheese" left over from draining the whey from yogurt suggests it could be used to make a low-fat cheesecake. There are many such recipes on the Web. I'm curious if anyone has really found a recipe that they think is good enough that they would be proud to serve it!

  10. OK...so 2 cups strained fresh carrot juice addded to .05% gelatine.....freeze...thaw in fridge w/ coffee filter will yield a clear carrot juice??

      So .05% gelatine.... is by weight of the carrot juice?

    I'm the one who posted those steps on ideasinfood regarding the carrot juice. I'll reproduce them here since this did work. I'll add any notes to make it very specific:

    1. Cook diced carrots, once soft, puree with enough liquid.

    2. Strain through fine sieve (or cheesecloth, I used a chinois and the result is an orange carrot juice).

    3. Remove one cup of liquid and cool to room temp( I cooled this quickly by setting the container in cold water).

    4. To the room temp cup of liquid, add .5% of gelatin by weight of the total amount of liquid.

    5. Stir and let cup of liquid stand for 5 minutes.

    6. Return to the rest of hot liquid and stir throughly.

    7. Cool to room temp and then place in freezer to freeze.

    8. Remove now frozen liquid and place in fine seive(or cheesecloth) over bowl and allow to thaw in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

    As I said, this worked. The result was a clear liquid with a slight orange tint that tasted very much of carrot. It was very sweet as well. I have to admit that I was impatient and after getting minimal amount of liquid after 24 hours in the fridge I put it on the counter for about 4 hours and it went much quicker. Considering this was in my home and not in some restaurant, and considering this was vegetables and not meat-based I figured it was safe. I then brought the clear liquid to a boil and added some salt. It did not become cloudy. I now have the rest frozen in the freezer. I was considering making calcic/alginate ravioli's with it.

    The ratio I used was .5% of powdered gelatin by weight. So if you have 1000g of carrot juice you would add(.005 * 1000) = 5g of powdered gelatin. I actually added a little more just in case.

    Thanks, Logicalmind, for the detailed instructions. Does it matter what the consistency (viscosity) of the puree is before freezing? Does the puree of whatever we're trying to clarify need to be very thin (i.e. watery), or not?

  11. Rose Levy Beranbaum notes on her website that she likes the silicone pans made by Lekue best (disclosure: she has come connection to the company as they put her name on some of their pans.) She talks about how this particular product is "100% platinum silicone", and should not have taste transfer. She says that the easiest way to tell if your pan is 100% silicone is to crimp it as see if the color changes. A white line at the fold indicates that there is something other than silicone in the pan. (My shiny black Flexipans do show a white line when you crimp them.) A (blue) Lekue pan stays blue at the fold when crimped. Unfortunately, Lekue doesn't make the size mold I need. Out of curiousity, can someone with a GastroFlex pan crimp a piece and let me know if its color blanches.

  12. I'm looking for a silicone pan with about one-inch diameter cylindrical cavities. I've tried Matfer's Flexipans before (the shiny black ones), but I swear I can taste a rubbery aftertaste in bakegoods made in them. Matfer also makes a line of (red)silicone pans called Gastroflex. Anyone know if these two products are made of different materials?

  13. Here - http://www.thegrownupsguide.com/data/ - I found a reference to this: http://witmerproducts.com/pbutter.html , a gizmo for stirring the oil back into separated natural peanut butter. Overkill, perhaps, but I find this a surprisingly onerous task when attempted with a table knife, and if the thing works as promised it could be a boon. Has anybody tried one?

    I own and use one of these. It works very well. After stirring, you pull out the metal stirring rod and a rubber gasket in the lid squeegees off any remaining PB from the rod. Very neat.

  14. In searching for a good recipe for "quick" puff pastry, I came across Soltner's recipe in his Lutece cookbook, where he recommends using Wondra flour. Wondra is a low-protein, rapidly dissolving (in liquid) flour. I thought you needed some "strength" in the flour used for puff pastry, to support its rise. Anyone have experience using Wondra flour in this sort of application?

  15. Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!


    Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

  16. I'm looking for an amazing peanut-butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, so I can make a batch and send to a friend for his birthday.  He is a peanut-butter/chocolate fiend, so I want to make the cookies a little bit more special than your average Reese's Pieces.

    I always think the thing that makes peanut-butter/chocolate so good is the salty/sweet/rich-fattiness.  I plan to use a very high quality dark chocolate bar, broken into chunks for the chocolate chips.  I'd like to add some really good salt to the batter (I prefer French gray salt, but I'm open to suggestions).  What I really need is a recipe for the base.  I'd like a thick, chewy cookie.

    One issue is that my friend lives in another province, so I have to send the cookies to him (courier).  So, I will need a recipe that will keep, a little.  If anyone has advice on shipping baked goods, I'd appreciate the information.  I don't have much experience.

    I just made a batch of these, and thought they were really good. Unlike most other peanut butter recipes, they don't add extra butter or shortening. The result is a less greasy cookie, which I prefer. However, they will not be thick/chewy.....

    1 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably Skippy brand

    1 cup dark brown sugar

    1 tsp baking soda

    1 large egg, lightly beaten

    2 Tbsp. finely chopped peanuts (optional)

    ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350° and position two racks in the upper and lower thirds. Mix ingredients. Roll tablespoons of the dough into 24 balls. Set on 2 sheets, and crosshatch with fork tines. Bake for 15 minutes, shifting the baking sheets from front to back and bottom to top, until cookies are lightly browned and set. Cool on a wire rack.

    Makes 2 dozen.

  17. While there are recipes for dairy (and egg) based liqueurs, I kind of feel like the possibility of contamination and spoilage of homemade ones, makes them less compelling to make than fruit based liqueurs.

    Thanks for the link. Your comment brings up something I've always wondered about. How is it that a commercially prepared liqueur like Baileys, made with real cream, can be shelf stable for so long? I'm sure that even using ultrapasteurized cream to make a clone of that recipe would not give it stability at room temperature. How do they do it?

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